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Bruce’s list of top movies in 2015 headed by ‘Age of Adeline’

Bruce Strand on January 7, 2016 - 5:59 pm in Lists

“The Age of Adeline” tops my personal list of the best 2015 movies. I’m listing my top 10 below along with another dozen or so that were also very good.

Noticeably absent are the latest Star Wars and Hunger Games episodes even though they are probably very good; I am just not interested in the stories or characters and usually doze off when I watch them. Also I excluded a pixel movie called “Inside-Out” which got rave reviews and made a lot of top-ten lists. I just though it was so dang sad, a story about a little girl hockey player whose life turns to crap.


1. The Age of Adeline — Unique story of a beautiful woman who never ages and through the decades has to flee from men she loves to keep her secret. Blake Lively is terrific, as is Harrison Ford as the 60-ish version of a her flame during his 20’s.

2. Trumbo — Brian Cranston is Oscar-worthy in his role as the blacklisted screenwriter of “Roman Holiday,” “The Brave One,” “Spartacus” and other hits, as is Helen Mirren as his tormentor, Hedda Hopper. Other actors do a great job as John Wayne, Edward G. Robinson and Burt Lancaster.

3. Black Mass — Not a big Johnny Depp fan but love him when he portrays criminals, as he did in “Blow” and now this role as notorious Boston gangster and fugitive Whitey Bulger. Rise and fall of a really frightening real-life thug.

4. Carol — Compelling tale of a classy but conflicted broad played by Cate Blanchett who adores her young son but fears losing custody of him when she falls in love with a young shop-girl played by Rooney Mara in the early 1950s when homesexuality is considered a crime and her husband uses it against her.

5. The Hunting Ground — Disturbing doc on campus rapes including focus on a women who charges that football star Jameis Winston had his way with her after she had been drugged, with police turning a blind eye to protect the football program.

6. Concussion — Another Oscar candidate is Will Smith for his portrayal of the Nigerian-native doctor who discovered the brain-damage condition he named CTE that causes NFL players to lose their minds and die young, often by suicide, and his battle with the NFL which used their considerable resources to try silence and discredit him.

7. Red Army — You don’t have to be a hockey fan to be intrigued by this doc on the Red Army hockey team that became so powerful it could beat up on the top NHL players in the 1970’s and 1980s but had to live under strict, suffocating controls by a coach whose reground was KGB.

8. Cinderella — Probably the best-ever telling of this old tale. Wonderful performance in the lead role by Lily James (of Downton Abbey) who, at the risk of me sounding gay, donned an absolutely fabulous blue dress for the ball. Cate Blanchett (there she is again) sharpens the story as the mean step-mother.

9. The Intern — Feelgood movie about unlikely friendship between a driven young clothing-sales excutive played by Anne Hathaway and Robert DiNiro as a 70-year-old widower who comes out of retirement to serve as her intern, an idea she hates at first.

10. Brooklyn — Take the wife to this romantic but un-sappy tale of an young Irish immigrant (Saoirse Ronan) in the 1950’s who falls for a young Italian plumber, then returns to Ireland after her sister dies while her Brooklyn beau waits and frets.

ALSO VERY GOOD —Spotlight (Michael Keaton, the story of the Boston newspaper uncovering the priests sex scandal) … Joy (Jennifer Lawrence great as usual as a young mother trying to market an innovative mop she invented) …. American Sniper (great depiction of war and great job bt Bradley Cooper) … McFarland USA (true story of a cross country team of all things that you needed kleenex for at the end) … Woman in Gold (the great Helen Mirren as a Jewish refugee trying to recover a painting that was a family treasure stolen by the Nazi’s during the war) … Straight Outa Compton (raw and very profane but the story of rap group NWA surprisingly well done) …. The Good Dinosaur (you really connect with this dinosaur family) … The Big Short (the 2007-80 collapse of the mortgage industry) … Creed (the latest, probably last, Rocky story, really well done, Stallone still very appealing as a 65-ish Rocky) … I’ll See You In My Dreams (lovely old person love story with Blythe Danner and Sam Elliott)


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